And what does the prang mean?

I was in a dream where I was a consultant as part of a team pitching for a new job with a client. The pitch was a joint effort between two different entities partnering for the work, and I was engaged by one separately to assist with the proposal and presentation.

The dream begins when we’re all returning after the pitch. We’re all jammed into the one car. I’m in a smart suit and am content I’ve done my bit well. It’s me in an earlier guise when I was younger and more ambitious and at the cutting edge of things.

Next to me is a woman who is a member of the other entity. She’s in her early thirties perhaps, professional and attractive. A lawyer, I think. We strike up a conversation. She tells me a little about her work, then refers to the blue University of Melbourne clipboard sitting in my lip (which I possess), assuming that I graduated from there.

In the dream, I only did a semester (just as in real life), and I have an internal debate whether to admit to that and go down the long-winded and uninteresting path to explain it. I figure I’m never going to see her again – my job is done – and so I basically nod my head without making any comment. It’s an omission of convenience, though it troubles me instinctively.

The next thing is we’re in a minor prang. We all get out of the car and find it’s undrivable. We mill about waiting for a taxi or something, and while we’re waiting I go with the woman to a nearby cafe for a coffee.

We get talking some more and we find ourselves warming to each other. We’re more than just acquaintances thrown together making polite conversation. We’re now genuinely interested in what the other has to say, and I find myself drawn to her, as she seems to me. She’s warm and smart and kind, just the sort of person I want to know, and perhaps get close to – and it feels as if the same feelings are dawning on her.

We laugh easily as it goes along, but in the back of my mind, there’s my faux pas about Melbourne University. It’s a small thing really, and something that can be easily explained without embarrassment, but I don’t feel that. I feel like I’ve lied to her. I feel because of that, she might have the wrong idea of me and that our warm relations are based upon something false. It’s an over the top appraisal of the situation, but you know what it’s like? Everything has more meaning and greater bearing when you figure you might like someone.

It plays on me still when we get news from the others waiting outside that word has come through: we got the job! Everyone is festive. We decide to have a drink together. It becomes clear now that I have some sort of personal relationship with the principle of the entity that engaged me. He’s a kind of father figure, and clearly very fond of me. He starts praising me to the group in general, but particularly to the woman. They’ve all cottoned on that the woman and I have become friendly and the mood is of amused encouragement – let the young ‘uns go!

Not surprisingly, I become a tad embarrassed by his effusive commendation, especially when he gets things wrong, or exaggerates my achievements. All of this seems to pile on top of my original lie. The woman smiles. She’s enjoying it. There’s a teasing affection in her as she observes my discomfort, and it feels as if we’ve achieved some kind of casual intimacy. It’s great, but what am I going to say?

That’s the dream. There are a few things in here to unpack, but I won’t do a public analysis. The key elements, to me, is that this is a previous version of me – a long way from where I am today. And the lie, if you want to call it that, which could be symbolic of many things, but perhaps alludes to not belonging, or perhaps to an embarrassment I’m unwilling to admit to. There’s plenty of those. Then there’s the father figure – it harks back to earlier days also, and to relationships and affection long gone. And the woman? I suspect she’s more generic, though representative of a deeper desire. But what do I know?

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